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The Role of Science and Technology in Counter Terrorism. Jay Davis National Security Fellow Center for Global Security Research Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory DOE/OBES Workshop Gaithersburg, February 28, 2002. My perspective on counter terrorism comes from career experiences.

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The role of science and technology in counter terrorism l.jpg

The Role of Science and Technology in Counter Terrorism

Jay Davis

National Security Fellow

Center for Global Security Research

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

DOE/OBES Workshop

Gaithersburg, February 28, 2002


My perspective on counter terrorism comes from career experiences l.jpg
My perspective on counter terrorism comes from career experiences

  • Having my own laboratory bombed when I was at Wisconsin

  • A basic research career in nuclear physics and in managing basic research in the broad geosciences, toxicology, nutritional science and combustion research

  • Applied experiences in arms control, the NEST program and as an inspector in Iraq

  • Three years as the founding director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a DoD combat support agency with counter terrorism as a major focus

  • Thirty years as an organization builder and strategic planner


Let me begin with the dilemmas of counter terrorism l.jpg
Let me begin with the dilemmas of counter terrorism experiences

  • There is no central ownership of this mission and it is almost no one’s first mission

  • The technological and the sociological quickly become combined

  • One is seeking resources to invest against rare events with high consequences

  • The ultimate customer is not one having great familiarity with the S&T community


What is the narrow role of science and technology in national security l.jpg
What is the narrow role of science and technology in national security?

  • To assure that we have the weapons and knowledge to deter those with evil intent

  • To assure that if war, terrorism or conflict come, our doctrine, people and equipment are superior to any

  • To assure that we fight our battle, preferably one that the enemy does not expect, rather than their battle

Note that the social sciences play a large role in these desires


What is the broad role of science and technology in national security l.jpg
What is the broad role of science and technology in national security?

  • To assure that we can anticipate and cope with surprise in any discipline

  • To assure that the American economy can compete on all levels and support the world’s best defense system

    • in both people and equipment

  • To explain honestly what is and is not possible in defense.

Basic scientists have a large role in these matters


How does dod look at solving a problem l.jpg
How does DoD look at solving a problem? security?

  • Is there a solution in doctrine, operations or in technology?

  • Who will provide the logistics and training support for a twenty year system lifetime?

  • How is the system, gadget or widget compatible with existing doctrine, operations or training?

  • Can I get promoted if I sponsor this?


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Where in counter terrorism do S&T have the most leverage? security?

  • Deterrence

  • Detection

  • Response

  • Recovery

  • Forensics and Attribution

Note that the first and last couple together -- and may offer our highest and most cost effective opportunities


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What are the strengths of the basic S&T community? security?

  • Knowledge of the future of your fields

    • particularly important in the “post-nuclear” and “post-physics” world

  • Potentially higher credibility with the new funders and the general public

  • Potentially lower operational burdens than the rules and inhibitions of the national security organizations that handle classified and/or controlled materials

  • Cost, cost, cost


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What are the grand technical challenges in counter terrorism?

  • Forensics for attribution and deterrence

  • Technologies for detection of agents and rapid diagnosis of infection or insult

  • Integration of sparse and uncertain data into predictive models for event management

    • this has enormous political importance

  • Integrated models that span dispersion to morbidity and mortality

    • for both low level and acute exposure

    • for “address-based” triage

  • Education on risk and risk tradeoff


What are the critical tests of you and your ideas l.jpg
What are the critical tests of you and your ideas? terrorism?

  • Can you work as a subcontractor?

    • Anything important will be a team activity -- you are an unlikely leader

  • Who will deliver and sustain your technology in production and operation?

    • A real government agency contribution could be to select the production operational contractors

  • Does this product deliver incremental improvement in existing systems without excessive opportunity cost in their present configuration?

    • Is the first responder willing to use this?


What are the grand contributions you can make l.jpg
What are the grand terrorism?contributions you can make?

  • Service in a mission-driven agency

    • they need your perspectives and knowledge

  • Support to the intelligence and security communities in predicting future threats

    • and the capabilities to counter them

  • Work in the international communities to establish norms of transparency and ethics

    • and the penalties for failure in these

  • Education and support of both the local and national communities in determining what is possible

    • expectations management is vital


You might ask yourself the following questions l.jpg
You might ask yourself the following questions terrorism?

  • What new contexts do I need to master?

  • Where or by what extrapolation does my currently funded work or capability contribute?

  • What new relationships do I need?

  • What are my responsibilities beyond the laboratory?


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Understand the political and operational difficulties of counter terrorism

  • This is no one’s first job -- except for Governor Ridge

  • Authority and resource needs are determined by the event

    • an anathema for political systems

  • The first responders are the most important players

    • and are poorly coupled to our communities

  • There will be no silver bullets

    • either technical or political

However, I am optimistic because we as a nation are now fully engaged with this topic